KOKOMO, Ind. - Richard Byron Wetmore, known professionally as Dick Wetmore, passed away at 11:45 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007, at St. Vincent's Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind.
Mr. Wetmore was a jazz and bebop musician, playing violin, trumpet, cornet, baritone horn, and string bass. A cut from his 1952 album, Dick Wetmore, is included in the Smithsonian's collection of greatest jazz recordings of all time. In 1998, he performed with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, the first jazz violinist to have played Gershwin with that body. One of his favorite gigs was as artist-in-residence at Nauset Regional High School, where he began a program in jazz and improvisation that eventually led to a series of high school jazz festivals.
Dick was born on Jan. 13, 1927, in Glens Falls, the son of the late Louis L. Wetmore and Laura Bemis Wetmore.
He attended Glens Falls schools and studied violin with Virginia DeBlasiis. He and his parents relocated to Newton Center, Mass., during the war.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1945 until his honorable discharge in 1946. After that, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music, where he met the composer, Bob Zieff, and his career in bebop and jazz began.
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Dick performed in many nightclubs, bands, and orchestras, eventually playing on Cape Cod into the mid-1990s. He retired to Naples, Fla., where he continued to play violin in various venues, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Dick and Marge moved to Kokomo, Ind. in May of 2006.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Marjorie; stepdaughter, Mary Lu Wetmore (French); stepson, Mike Bach (Linda); four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by nieces, Joyce Getty of Salem, and Nancy Somers of Valatie; nephews, David Hurd of Plattsburgh, Jim Anderson of Boca Raton, Fla., Ned Wetmore of Michigan, French Wetmore, Pete Wetmore, and Dan Wetmore of Illinois.
Dick was predeceased by his brother, Louis Wetmore in 2005, and his sister, Jane TeBordo in 2006.
Dick's memorial service will be held on Cape Cod in the summer.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Dick Wetmore Music Fund, c/o French Wetmore, Treasurer, 153 Nanti St., Park Forest, IL. 60466.
For Dick's online guestbook, please visit www.mcclellanfuneralservice.com.
Local arrangements are by McClellan Funeral Service, 19 East Broadway, Salem, NY 12865 (518) 854-3555.